Eye Conductor

Copenhagen Institute of Interaction DesignDenmark

Empowering, Expressing

Concept / Student

Team

Andreas Refsgaard

Overview

Eye Conductor helps people express themselves through music using only their eyes and facial gestures.
By translating eye gaze and facial expression into music, Eye Conductor enables people who are otherwise unable to express themselves creatively.

Imagine playing a musical instrument without using your hands. It can be hard to conceive and even harder to actually do. For a lot of people with physical disabilities the lack of fine motor skills exclude them from playing music on traditional instruments.
With Eye Conductor I wanted to push the boundaries of the interaction design by exploring how eye and face tracking technologies could be used for creative purposes. I believe that the ability to express oneself artistically should be available to all, regardless of physical disabilities or challenges. Therefore I wanted to create a solution that operated in the same domain as traditional instruments. Something that gives people a lot of freedom, but also requires them to practice, just like a regular instrument.

The project relied heavily on user research, and I visited several schools and housing communities for people with physical disabilities, as well as families with children in wheelchairs in their private homes.
The people I meet were extremely diverse, but regardless of physical abilities music played a big role in their life, and had the ability to connect them to others (abled or disabled) through a shared activity.
I also found that the ability to create music functions as an important identity marker and a channel for expressing deep emotions, but often requires aid or execution by others.
Finally I saw how the technology and the hardware exists, but the tools for creating music in real time for people who cannot use their arms and fingers are missing. That is why I made Eye Conductor.

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